SAN DIEGO -- Threading the needle between trying to win games and preparing his roster for the playoffs, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly got away with both Sunday.
But his true priority -- the postseason -- was clear when he lifted healthy starting pitcher Zack Greinke after only five innings in a scoreless tie, a game the Dodgers went on to win, 1-0, over the Padres with a four-pitcher two-hitter.
Adrian Gonzalez, who singled with one out in the seventh inning, scored the only run when Michael Young's two-out double was bobbled by San Diego right fielder Will Venable for an error. Gonzalez, playing with a tight quad, originally was held at third base until the misplay.
Mattingly has said he would like to earn the home-field advantage in the playoffs, which will require winning most, if not all, of the remaining regular-season games. But his explanation for pulling Greinke with a two-hit shutout clearly points to saving the pitcher's arm for October rather than wearing him down in a September victory with a playoff berth already clinched.
"It's all about Zack," Mattingly said of the quick hook after 72 pitches. "He's going on regular rest, even short rest if you consider coming back for a day game after pitching in a night game. He'll get an extra day the next two times."
Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt gave Clayton Kershaw three extra days of rest before allowing him to pitch seven scoreless innings Saturday night. Because of Monday's day off, both get a fifth day of rest before their last regular-season starts on Friday and Saturday. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts Tuesday in San Francisco with three extra days' rest.
Greinke was lifted for a pinch-hitter when his spot led off the top of the sixth inning, having retired his last nine batters and allowing only two hits. He lowered his ERA to 2.67 in the no-decision, running the string of starts in which he's allowed two earned runs or fewer to 11.
Greinke said he didn't ask for his shortest start of the year but was "fine with it. The main thing, all my pitches were working."
Backup catcher Tim Federowicz, working with Greinke for the first time since June, issued the same reviews heard about Greinke throughout the past two months, as he hasn't lost a start since July 25.
"He hit his spots, was usually down, had command of all four pitches," said Federowicz. "He knew going in it would be a short start."
J.P. Howell, credited with the division-clinching win Thursday in Arizona, raised his mark to 4-1 after relieving Greinke. Chris Withrow, just back from the birth of his first child, pitched into a seventh-inning jam with a pair of walks, but struck out Logan Forsythe and got Mark Kotsay on a tapper to escape.
Withrow also pitched the eighth, with Paco Rodriguez and Brandon League warming in the bullpen. Kenley Jansen got the save, his 27th.
"Kenley's always pumped up in big games," said Federowicz. "It's good to see that, because we've got a lot of big games coming up."
The Dodgers got a bit of a scare in the ninth inning when Andre Ethier, making his first appearance in a week since turning his left ankle, appeared to roll over it swinging at a Luke Gregerson changeup. Mattingly said it looked awkward but Ethier said he didn't believe he reinjured it.
Offensively, all the Dodgers could get off Andrew Cashner was the one unearned run that resulted from Young's double. Since coming to the Dodgers from the Phillies, Young is 15-for-39 (.385) and he turned several flashy defensive plays at third base. In keeping with his unselfish reputation, Young turned answers about his defense into praise for Dodgers pitching.
"The credit goes to the pitching staff," he said. "Defense always feeds off them. They throw a lot of strikes, keep a great tempo."
Each club had one scoring opportunity early.
For the Dodgers, it was the top of the third when Greinke reached second on a one-out ground-rule double. But Yasiel Puig grounded to first and Carl Crawford struck out.
For the Padres, it was the bottom of the third when Reymond Fuentes led off with the only walk from Greinke, Rene Rivera singled him to second and Cashner bunted them over. But Greinke got Alexi Amarista to pop up to shortstop and Young made a difficult play behind third base and threw out Ronny Cedeno to save the run.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.